The Tampa Bay Lightning are two-time defending champions for a reason.
While many teams would have trouble getting up for a game against an offensive juggernaut after falling behind 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final with a blowout 7-0 loss, the Lightning were more than up for the challenge. They defended home ice at Amalie Arena in Monday's Game 3 with a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche and are now down 2-1 in the series.
Perhaps the most encouraging development for the Lightning was the fact that the stars led the way.
Steven Stamkos (one goal and one assist), Nikita Kucherov (two assists) and Victor Hedman (two assists) all had multi-point games, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy bounced back with 37 saves on 39 shot attempts.
The entire team earned plenty of praise on social media:
It looked as if it would be more of the same when Colorado opened the scoring five minutes in, but Valeri Nichushkin's goal was overturned upon review for offside. Although the Avalanche still scored first and got two goals from Gabriel Landeskog and two assists each from Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar, they looked far less dominant after the crowd came to life when the first goal was disallowed.
Tampa Bay answered the first goal with three straight. Nicholas Paul scored one despite an apparent injury earlier in the game, and Ondrej Palat scored another off a beautiful pass from Stamkos.
The pattern continued when the Lightning answered Colorado's second goal with three straight again with Kucherov assisting on goals from Stamkos and Pat Maroon.
It was enough to drive goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the game, but the damage was already done for the visitors. Vasilevskiy was also dialed in to prevent any legitimate comeback threats.
Attention now turns to Wednesday's Game 4 when the Lightning will look to tie the series up and continue the theme of the home team winning every time.